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Benjamin Netanyahu Administration: Remarks With Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

(February 23, 2016)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Jerusalem on February 23, 2016. The two leaders signed a joint statement on water that focuses on cooperation on water and agricultural issues and establishes a joint bilateral committee. After the signing, they met privately and then held an expanded meeting in which they and their delegations discussed security and the fight against terrorism as well as bilateral cooperation on - inter alia - cyber, energy, agriculture, water, irrigation and public health issues. This was the first visit of a Kenyan President to Israel since 1994.

Prime Minister Netanyahu

Mr. President, It's a pleasure to welcome you and your colleagues to Jerusalem. This is your first visit to Israel as the President of Kenya.

We have had a remarkable relationship between our two peoples. It's a partnership that dates back over half a century. Your father, Jomo Kenyatta, is the founding father of the Kenyan nation, and the leader of your country's struggle for independence. He was also the architect of the friendship between Israel and Kenya. He demonstrated that friendship most dramatically 40 years ago in helping Israel in the raid in Entebbe to rescue our hostages. This is something that has left a deep imprint on Israel. The people of Israel are grateful for that. And I'm personally grateful for that.

We have since developed our relationship in so many areas and it's a growing relationship. We speak regularly on the phone. We try in many ways to improve our relationship and bring it to new heights in so many areas.

The first area is a battle, our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. Both our peoples have suffered at the hand of these, at the hands of these brutal terrorists. We have no illusions about them. They want to murder our people and we know that this is a common battle that we share with you and we're prepared to do a great deal more. In fact, Israel is willing and prepared to work with African countries in our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. I have to say that more and more African countries recognizes what you recognize - that Israel is a unique partner against this extremism, that Israel is a unique partner in the way that we can work together to seize the opportunities of the future. And we're going to discuss these opportunities and these challenges today and what we do in security, and what we do in agriculture, and what we do in water and irrigation and technology in every field that touches our national life. Israel is prepared to work with Kenya and the countries of Africa. And I want to say that you are, in many ways, leading this direction. And I welcome that not merely in the context of our relationship with Kenya but in our relationship with the countries of Africa. Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel.

And we can have no better leader showing the way than President Kenyatta of Kenya. So I welcome you in that spirit to Israel and I look forward to our discussions.

Kenyan President Kenyatta

Prime Minister, may I just say first and foremost thank you on my own behalf and on behalf of my delegation for the very warm welcome that we've received since we arrived here in Jerusalem yesterday evening. And to say that for us this is a historic visit, as you have just mentioned. The strong partnership between Kenya and Israel stems all the way back to our independence, actually prior to our independence given the fact that your government made formal communication even to my own father while he was still actually on the house arrest.

With the spirit of us working together, we are both countries have had to struggle for our independence, we have fought for our independence and as such we value the issues of sovereignty, of independence and for the right to self-determination. We are founded on strong principles of democracy, strong principles of freedom of expression, principles of freedom of religious expression and I think this brings us together in many ways.

Equally, as I have said before, we both live in challenging neighborhoods with similar security concerns and the cooperation between our two governments since the time of our independence has been formidable and we look forward that this particular trip will strengthen those ties even further.

We have no room for extremism, we must do everything that we can to protect the freedoms and the beliefs and the principles and the common values that we share and we look forward to further strengthening our cooperation in the security area. We look forward to partnering with you and with the rest of the world in combatting violent extremism and all this in order to be able to give our people the freedoms necessary to be able to enjoy a prosperous, stable, free society. So, I am looking forward to engaging with you and your government in these ends as well as further deepening our cooperation in agriculture, as you said, in irrigation, in water management and the experiences that Israel itself has had as well as information technology where we in Kenya can learn a lot from your own particular experiences.

So Prime Minister on my own behalf, on behalf of my delegation, I thank you for the welcome. We have enjoyed our stay so far and I am looking forward to some very fruitful deliberations that will see a further deepening of the partnership and relationship between not only Kenya and Israel but also the strengthening of the partnership between Kenya, I mean - Israel and Africa. So once again, thank you for the welcome.

Source: Israel Prime Minister's Office